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MB Lee Distinguished Lecture in the Humanities #3 (14 Oct 2014)

The Loss of Empire and the End of Pax Americana

MB Lee Distinguished Lecture in the Humanities
Prof Naoki Sakai (Cornell University)
Date: Tuesday 14 Oct, 2014

In East Asia today, we are facing the end of Pax Americana. One of its most conspicuous consequences is the rise of jingoism in Japan in recent decades, in which the Japanese Government openly wishes to return to the containment policies of the Cold War years while resurrecting the glorious image of the Japanese Empire that was supposed to have perished at the end of the Second World War. I would like to view this peculiar form of Japanese ultra-nationalism from the perspective of collective shame and hikikomori (reclusive withdrawal) in Japanese society.

Naoki Sakai is Goldwin Smith Professor of Asian Studies at Cornell University, where he teaches Comparative Literature, Asian Studies, and History. He has published in the fields of comparative literature, intellectual history, translation studies, the studies of racism and nationalism, and the histories of textuality. His publications include: Translation and Subjectivity (University of Minnesota Press, 1997); Voices of the Past (Cornell University Press, 1991); The Stillbirth of the Japanese as a Language and as an Ethnos (Shinyô-sha, 1995); Hope and the Constitution (Ibunsha, 2008). He has edited multiple volumes on the themes of translation, national identity, and cultural theory and serves on the editorial boards of numerous journals.

The MB Lee Distinguished Lectures in the Humanities are designed to promote the significance of the arts and humanities to the wider public. Accessible, curious and enriching, the talks should stimulate a passion for the arts and a desire to see the values of the humanities benefit the social well-being of Hong Kong.

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